Toronto Food: Brunch Edition
One of the best aspects of travel is getting the opportunity to try new foods. Every city has its own assortment of must-eat foods and must-visit eateries and Toronto is no exception. Because we live in a multicultural hub, our city offers endless options to satisfy every one of your taste buds. Guided Toronto offers locally hosted food and booze tours which we customize to every traveller, but we also love to share some of our favourite spots. In order to help you choose where to go, we’re compiling lists of places depending on the time of day and whatever type of dining experience you’re craving. To simplify this task, we’re staying close to central Toronto and have curated our selections down to top-five lists according to different categories. We’re starting things off with the Brunch Edition.
BRUNCH (10 a.m. to 3 p.m.) - Brunch has evolved into a sort of religion here in Toronto. As such, it can be quite the lavish affair. With the narrow, small seating areas that our restaurants are famous for, we tend to accept a bit of a wait to be seated for brunch, and reservations are rarely allowed. The ridiculousness of this is not lost on us – especially considering that we’re already consciously delaying our first meal of the day by opting for brunch – but, for whatever reason, it’s worth the wait every time.
There are a few Torontonian and Canadian staples that make our brunch quite distinctive: Canadian Bacon (a lean, cornmeal-crusted, thick slice of ham), Creaser (a spiced Bloody Mary with clam juice and decorative edible flair), and Maple Syrup (maple tree sap boiled down to a sticky and sweet syrup to drizzle over just about anything). As odd and unappetizing as these may sound, you really must try them; they are layered in local history and folklore – and also happen to serve as great hangover remedies!
WHITE LILY DINER (East End):
With fresh donuts made daily and a classic (but elevated) menu, this eclectic diner has limited seating (only 30 seats) but offers great service and affordable cocktails. This place excels at comfort food and is perfectly nestled in the charming neighbourhood of Riverside.
THE FEDERAL (West End):
This funky brick-walled hangout serves Canadian fare and cocktails. Located in the trendy area of Dundas West, which is currently enjoying an influx of new restaurants and bars, brunch at The Federal is possibly the best follow-up to a night of too much fun.
FREE TIMES CAFE (Central):
Looking for some music to go with your brunch? How about all you can eat? If any of that appeals to you, Free Times Cafe is the place to be. This brunch is a pure masterpiece. Located just north of Kensington Market, it boasts an authentic Jewish Sunday brunch with over 50 food items and live Klezmer and Yiddish music… Um, yum!
UNION (West End):
This trendy Ossington stronghold has been cooking up one of the best brunch menus in town for years. With its unique bar-like setting and French-/Canadian-inspired bistro brunch menu, this is a guaranteed delicious meal for all to enjoy.
MAHA’S (East Side):
This Upper Leslieville restaurant offers delicious and approachable Egyptian food that justifies its weekend lineups. This place is a family affair, as you’ll find chef Maha and her daughter Monika preparing every dish from fresh ingredients. Located around Greenwood and Gerrard in one of the city’s next up-and-coming neighbourhoods, Maha’s is worth the visit for a meal and after-meal stroll.
Finally, if the possibility of lining up is frightening and you need a reservation to keep you happy. Then here are a few classy joints that deserve a honourable mention: Mildred’s Temple Kitchen (Liberty Village), Broadview Hotel Café-Bar (Riverside) or Cluny Bistro(Distillery District).